Google DeepMind’s AI has won the fifth and final game of Go against human world champion Lee Sedol.
The victory marks the end of a week-long Challenge Series tournament in South Korea that has caught headlines across the world.
It’s a major milestone for artificial-intelligence research: Go is a simple game but has been notoriously difficult for computers to master because of the sheer number of potential moves. Go players believe the game relies on intuition as a strategy.
While AI programs began being able to beat humans at chess decades ago, the best Go players in the world have always been able to outsmart Go-playing software — until now.
Go is a two-player, turn-based strategy game. Each player puts down either black or white stones in an attempt to outmaneuver and surround the other player. It’s easy to pick up but takes years to master.
Demis Hassabis, the CEO and cofounder of Google DeepMind confirmed the victory on Twitter where he said the final game was “one of the most incredible games ever.”
After the third game, Lee apologised for not being able to satisfy people’s expectations. “I kind of felt powerless,” he said. “When I look back on the three matches, even if I were to go back and redo the first match, I think I would not be able to win because I misjudged AlphaGo.”
The tournament has been closely watched by the most senior people at Alphabet and Google. Alphabet president Sergey Brin attended the third game, while Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt was there for the first.